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    Sekiro / The Wolf 

Sekiro / The Wolf
Click here for Young Wolf 
"The Mortal Blade. Without question... I accept its power."
"Do what must be done."
Voiced by: Daisuke Namikawa (Japanese), Noshir Dalal (English)

The Player Character and protagonist, Wolf is an older ninja bound to protect The Divine Heir, the last scion of an ancient bloodline. Ambushed while escorting his charge through a war-torn province, Wolf is attacked by a young samurai commander, costing him his left arm, his master's safety, and his honor. Waking up, and having found his arm replaced by a "ninja prosthetic", Wolf is told his master still lives, and that he still has the chance to redeem himself by preventing the samurai from sacrificing his liege to obtain immortality.

  • Ability Mixing: If Wolf fully masters one of the esoteric texts given to him throughout the game, the Tengu of Ashina will be impressed enough to hand over the means to develop Mushin Arts - this skill tree combines various combat arts that Wolf learned before to create new, devastating attacks.
  • Anti-Hero: A type III; not only is he hellbent on getting revenge, he has no qualms with murdering defenseless old women to remain undetected, and as expected of a ninja, using pragmatic tactics that would be considered very dishonorable. That being said, he's quite noble and pleasant otherwise, being respectful to everyone he meets and, in turn, being treated nicely by his comrades.
  • Animal Motif: Heavily associated with Wolves.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Loses his arm in a fight at the start of the game and wears a special prosthetic as a replacement.
  • Artificial Limbs: Has a skeletal-looking prosthetic arm, a Ningishu, that was given to him by the Sculptor after Genichiro severed his arm. It contains a grappling hook mechanism, and can be fitted with a variety of Prosthetic Tools, from spring-loaded shuriken to magical fans to help him go through the many battles ahead of him.
  • Armour Piercing Attack: Several sword arts and prosthetic upgrades damage enemies even through guard, such as the Ashina Cross. The spear can also be used to remove armour from some of the larger enemies, allowing you to hurt them normally.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: The first kanji in Sekiro refers to "one missing half of something" (e.g., missing one of two arms), while the second means "wolf." The One-Armed Wolf. This is actually the exact route he gets this name, since the name is given to him by another character. In a play on words, "Seki" can also mean "red", so a different reading of the title would be "The Red Wolf", which highlights the amount of bloodshed that's about to go down in order to save Kuro. It must also be noted that his official job title is "Shinobi of the Divine Heir".
  • Ax-Crazy: What he becomes at the end of the Shura ending; a crazed demon that slaughters tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians alike in blood-fueled massacres. He displays this earlier just before his transformation by grinning when he kills Emma.
  • An Axe to Grind: Wolf can install a powerful hatchet as a sub-weapon onto his prosthetic, useful for piercing shields, breaking down tough material, and just doing damage in general.
  • Badass and Child Duo: With Kuro, though he never takes Kuro with him on his missions.
  • Badass Baritone: Possesses a cavernously deep voice in both English and Japanese.
  • Badass Boast: Tells Kuro "This... will only take a moment" before his second battle with Genichiro.
  • Badass Cape: His "Ashina Shinobi" costume gives him a particularly badass one, colored dark blue.
  • Badass Longcoat: Wears an impressive orange haori.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: Despite being the main protagonist, he's the one major character with the least spoken dialogue and prefers keeping his sentences short and concise when conversing with others. He's also the biggest One-Man Army in the setting, has slaughtered countless natural and unnatural enemies in his way, and has defeated many big named warriors who are The Dreaded in their own right.
  • Bizarre Taste in Food: A few minor examples. Among the things he can eat are eel liver and Red Lumps. He even states "I will eat anything." The most normal thing he enjoys the sweet rice he is given by the Divine Child. Only...
    Kuro: Wolf. Rice tastes much better when it is cooked.
    Wolf: ...Cooked?
  • Blind Obedience: One of the choices he can make during the game is to wholeheartedly obey his father and mentor, setting him up on the path of becoming a Shura.
  • Blood Knight: Wolf isn't just duty-bound; he enjoys what he does, even if he isn't a sadist about it. Both the Sculptor and Isshin are concerned with his bloodlust, to the point where the latter warns him that he's in danger of manifesting Shura. Taken Up to Eleven during the Shura ending, as Shura literally means "Demon enthralled by violence". His transformation into a blood-soaked demon completes the cycle of violence. No matter what lies before him — civilian or soldier — Wolf will cut them down all the same with a smile on his face.
    Soldiers and townfolk alike died by the thousands. Very few survived. Ashina became the setting for the most tragic massacre of the Sengoku era. And for a long time after, it was said a demon lurked the land...
  • Blood Magic: Two of Wolf's ninjutsu techniques that he can initiate after performing a Backstab Deathblow (Bloodsmoke and Bestowal) draw upon the blood of his victims as well as Spirit Emblems.
  • Blood-Splattered Warrior: Just like in the previous SoulsBourne games, the more Wolf kills, the more blood-drenched he will be. Deathblowing some bosses will literally shower his whole body with so much blood.
  • Cast From Hitpoints: The Ceremonial Tanto Wolf can obtain later in the game is used by damaging himself for half of his maximum health, in exchange adding five Spirit Emblems to his already-available count. A smart player would balance health and tanto usage to practically double the number of Spirit Emblems the Wolf can expend in combat.
  • Casting a Shadow: He can turn briefly into a shadow, moving at a fast speed in a short distance in order to avoid attacks and Flash Step.
  • Catchphrase: Responds to most expository dialogue with a contemplative "I see..."
  • Character Development: Events throughout the game push him to become more empathetic to others. He is frequently rewarded for helping those in need, which incentivizes the player to form bonds with those around them - indeed, the Dragonrot only affects people who know of the Wolf, so narratively the player is meant to talk to as many people as possible. Whether or not this development is effective is determinant on what ending the player chooses.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower:
    • Wolf's shinobi training has given him strength sufficient to leap twelve feet vertically while carrying armor and weapons, deflect blows from a guy who can collapse an entire guard tower with a single swing,note  fall a hundred feet onto hard rock without taking damage, shove a katana straight through iron lamellar, and deflect matchlock bullets with his sword, among other things.
    • Pay close attention to his grappling hook animation. He doesn't let the hook pull him up like most video game protagonists; he just plants it somewhere and then yanks his left arm really hard, enough that he sends himself flying dozens of feet through the air. When considering the low distance over which he had to exert force, and the fact that he's doing this solely with the muscles in his non-dominant arm instead of his more powerful legs, this would require an insane amount of strength, enough to lift several tons.
  • Cool Mask: He wears a silvery, jeering Menpo over his face with his "Ashina Shinobi" outfit which was the Sculptor's outfit back when he was a shinobi. In contrast, his "Tengu" costume has the same red-faced ceremonial Tengu mask that Isshin wears while disguised.
  • Combat Pragmatist: As a shinobi, Wolf has a strong sense of honor concerning loyalty, but little if any concerning combat. Wolf, and by extension, the player, is expected to use every dirty tactic available, whether it be stealth or ninja tools, in order to rescue his lord. This was in fact a conscious choice FromSoft made and a reason Wolf was made a shinobi rather than a samurai, as a normal samurai wouldn't sully his honor with dirty tricks and pragmatism.
  • The Comically Serious: Wolf's sense of humor is nonexistent, leading to some amusing interactions with more lighthearted characters like Isshin and Emma. See No Social Skills and Bizarre Taste in Food for examples.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: Wolf is bound by the Iron Code of the Shinobi of Hirata which was taught to him by his father, but faces a moment of hesitation when Kuro decides to go against the code and seek a way to sever the ties of the Dragon's blood. He faces another choice between obeying his father and killing Kuro, or disobeying his father and staying loyal to Kuro.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: Downplayed. While the game is not a sequel to the Dark Souls series, Sekiro is completely different from the blank slate protagonist. Not only does he have his own personality and backstory, he also has a much simpler goal.
  • Cradling Your Kill: If Wolf chooses to obey Owl and follows through with stabbing Emma in the throat, he will lower her to the ground until she properly expires.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Wolf is a Stealth Expert and a master duelist, enabling him to kill even very powerful foes with single precision strikes as long as he can land a surprise deathblow, and take on behemoths he should logically have no chance against in a straight fight. However, due to the fact that (unlike previous Soulsborne protagonists) his only weapon is a small sword that can only hit one person at a time, he's ill-suited to taking on several enemies at once. The game encourages you to get around this by picking enemies off one by one.
  • Cursed With Awesome: The game goes to great lengths to portray immortality as a curse, either outright, or disguised as a blessing. That being said, Wolf's immortality has allowed him to continue fighting, albeit not without its consequences.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: He's a grim-faced Shinobi who employs Blood Magic, dishonorable tactics, and wields an Evil Weapon. But he's also highly loyal to his master and friends, and is actually quite honorable. The "Ashina Shinobi" outfit he can unlock even switches out his orange colored clothing for dark blue ones.
  • David Versus Goliath: Wolf is not necessarily a small man himself, but he's positively tiny compared to the many larger-than-life warriors and behemoths blocking his path.
  • Defrosting Ice King: Face it, Wolf isn't very sociable, especially not in the early game. Early on, he is focused only on getting Kuro back and killing anyone in his way, and most of his conversations amount to little more than a silent grunt or growling out a few words containing a very thinly veiled threat. If he chooses to forsake the Iron Code and/or brings Sake to the three people who are available for it, he shows a softer side of himself, more willing to ask questions and show his appreciation to them.
  • Determinator: Willing to do and kill everything to rescue his lord per his Iron Code his father taught him. And he is even willing to get ingredients for Kuro and the Divine Child that is stated to be impossible to get even if it means getting Kuro killed.
  • The Dreaded: Eavesdropping on Masanaga the Spear-bearer will reveal that Wolf has attained quite a reputation among the agents of the Interior Ministry, who consider him an unkillable demon. If he becomes Shura, the entirety of Japan is so scared shitless of him that no one dares enter into the destroyed province of Ashina, now reduced to a lifeless ghost-land, with whispers of a demon stalking anyone who dares trespass. Those who survived his rampage would go on to write folk songs about the "demon wolf in red" that destroyed their homeland.
  • Expy: Driven by vengeance? A living One-Man Army? Lost an arm and replaced it with a kickass prosthetic? Jerk with a Heart of Gold? Has a patch of hair that's white despite their age? Has a backstory involving being in the service of someone that they care(d) about? Are we sure we aren't talking about a certain Black Swordsman here?
  • Empowered Badass Normal: His immortality and prosthetics aside, the only things he uses to fight are his sword and impressive sword skills, which is enough to kill ogres, apparitions and even a dragon.
  • Experienced Protagonist: By the time of the game's start, Wolf has been a shinobi under Owl for almost two decades, and is already a highly skilled fighter.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Becomes a mass-murdering demon in the Shura ending.
  • Faking the Dead: Can invoke this once he gets an item late in the game. This allows him to get a free deathblow when used correctly.
  • Fallen Hero: If the player chooses the Shura route, Wolf will become a Shura, devolving from a loyal shinobi to a mindless demon hellbent on slaughter.
  • Fights Like a Normal: He has Resurrective Immortality, a mechanical arm that grants sometimes magical abilities, and can learn some ninjutsu, but his primary means of attack remains a mundane katana.
  • Flaming Sword: His arm cannon can also set his sword on fire for extra damage, much like charcoal pine resins.
  • Fragile Speedster: In comparison to both the enemies and previous From Software protagonists. Wolf is very fast, and not only because he can deflect bullets with his sword; his run speed is higher than that of Soulsborne protagonists and he has no stamina limit, so literally running circles around bosses to get a hit in is a perfectly valid option. However, his only weapon (besides prosthetics) is a small sword, so he doesn't do much damage and can't handle crowds of enemies, and he wears little armor, so he doesn't have much in way of defense either and must rely on dodging, blocking, and counters. He can make his fragility even more pronounced by using Yashariku's Sugar or the corresponding Spiritfall, which halves his maximum lifebar in exchange for becoming a Glass Cannon. By the end of the game, it doesn't matter how much Wolf has leveled up, bosses will kill him in two to four hits.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: From an angry war orphan to one of the deadliest shinobi in Japan.
    Owl: When I found you on that battlefield, I had no idea what you'd become.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: When Kuro asks him to help find a way to sever his immortality, selecting the "Help Kuro" option will cause Wolf to quote the Iron Code to himself and then refuse. It's impossible to progress until you pick the "Obey the Iron Code" option. It's not until much later in the game that he undergoes some Character Development and is able to follow Kuro's wishes.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Quite a bit of a stretch since this is the Sengoku period, but he just wants to protect his lord and nothing will stand on his way. Even if it means fighting his former allies that want to use Kuro for their own plans.
  • Goomba Stomp: After jumping, Wolf can kick an enemy to bounce off them for additional height. Normally this inflicts minor posture damage and interrupts attacks, but doing so while the enemy is performing a sweep attack will dramatically increase the posture damage dealt. The Senpou Leaping Kicks and High Monk Combat Arts will deal even more than that by a not-insignificant amount.
  • Guttural Growler: In the Japanese dub and less so in the English dub, Wolf has a rather raspy voice, which stands out since he's very quiet most of the time.
  • A Handful for an Eye: Wolf can pocket fistfuls of ash he finds around Ashina and toss them at his enemies, momentarily stunning them.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In one of the endings, Wolf can eliminate the Dragon's Heritage without Kuro having to die — in exchange, however, Wolf must offer his life in Kuro's place.
  • Highly Visible Ninja: Oddly enough, he's not immune to this trope. It's even Invoked to an extent, as Wolf, unlike a lot of modern depictions, wears a full set of armor.
  • Iaijutsu Practitioner: Wolf's strongest foes have powerful slashes that require sheathing their sword first. These are all moves he can potentially learn and equip as Combat Arts, making him one as well.
  • Implausible Fencing Powers: Some of Wolf's opponents can pull off crazy moves using their blades; a few happen to be learnable, meaning he can use them too. That's not going into the fact that even from base level, he can already block bullets.
  • Innate Night Vision: He has an ability called "Night Eye" which makes him able to see in the dark, allowing him to navigate dark caves and turning his eyes golden.
  • Instant Expert: Downplayed. Wolf is a very quick study when it comes to new techniques. He picks up a few from defeating bosses, two of which are gained from both incarnations of Isshin. It's implied that he learns these techniques just by watching his opponent use them.
  • In the Back: Backstab Deathblows are Wolf's bread and butter when it comes to stealth options. It is also the only way to trigger powerful Ninjutsu techniques.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: While quiet and stoic, Wolf is rather gruff and antisocial. However, he does display concern for the people around him and not just his master.
  • Lightning/Fire Juxtaposition: Wolf's Flame Vent, Shinobi Firecrackers, and usage of oil in direct combat differ from Genichiro's Way of Tomoe.
  • Locked into Strangeness: Wolf's tie to the Dragon's Heritage has turned a part of his face and hair bone white, a symptom that Emma finds fascinating.
  • Made of Iron: He's endured quite a lot of beatings for Kuro's sake, with only his immortality the reason he is still alive. Hell, the first part alone has him losing his arm to Genichiro. Emma even comments that he never complained about his injuries, which made it hard for her to treat him correctly.
  • Marked Change: Sekiro's right side of his hair and part of his face are ashen-grey, likely the first sign of the Dragon's Blood in him.
  • Master Swordsman: Sekiro is capable of incredible skill with Kusabimaru; among what you can do with it in game is parrying a massive katakama-yari while the wielder is on horseback, dueling the supreme commander of the Ashina forces three times and winning two of them (three, if you're really good or on New Game+), defeating one of the greatest shinobi alive, and perhaps most impressively of them all, facing Isshin Ashina himself, either as an old man with far more technique than any other character in the game, or in his physical prime. Gameplay wise, he is capable of casually deflecting arrows and bullets and is perfectly capable of repelling thrusts by stomping on them.
  • Meaningful Name: Besides the "Sekiro" nickname that he gets stuck with by the Tengu, Wolf lives up to acting like the animal he's named after - he's a fiercly loyal Papa Wolf to a cub (Kuro), equally as loyal to his pack (Kuro, Emma, and to a lesser extent the Sculptor and Isshin) and besides bosses that need two deathblows in a row, he usually stabs enemies in the jugular area as his finishing move - going for the throat just like a hunting wolf taking down prey. Sekiro (隻狼) was formed after two words: Sekiwan (隻腕), means a man with one arm; and 狼 (ōkami) just means wolf; thus it befits him as an one-armed shinobi named Wolf. Standalone, the word 隻 also means alone, lone, and 隻狼 literally means lone wolf. In the bad ending where he forsakes his allies, Wolf goes mad and violent - similar psychological detriments that have been observed in real life lone wolves who can't make a new pack.
    • Extends to his katana, Kusabimaru, as well, which is his primary weapon that he carries through the whole game. As per the game's info, "The name Kusabimaru beseeches, 'A shinobi's role is to kill, but even a shinobi must not forget mercy.' A mantra the blade itself may manifest." This actually serves as something of a vague clue as to how he can achieve the more positive endings.
  • Multicolored Hair: He has a patch of white hair and pale white skin on the side of his face, implied to be an effect of the Dragon Heritage pact.
  • Multi-Melee Master: If players desire it, Wolf can be a master swordsman, shinobi, and martial artist, with all the associated tools: katana, shuriken, kunai, axe, spear, reinforced umbrella, short knife, bare-handed techniques, as well as several occultic ninjutsu and weapons.
  • Mundane Luxury: Seems to react this way towards cooking food. He didn't even know you could cook rice until Kuro expressed surprise that he would eat it raw.
  • Mysterious Past: The most we know about him is that Owl adopted him after finding him on a battlefield during Isshin's rebellion and trained him to be a shinobi with the help of Lady Butterfly. Who he was and where he came from before Owl found him is never stated.
  • Mystical White Hair: Partially. His pact of immortality with Kuro has turned much of his hair and part of his face an ashen white.
  • Mythology Gag: A swordsman with a wolf motif whose left arm was taken out of commission? Artorias, is that you?
  • No Name Given: As a shinobi, he never had one for most of his life and is called "the wolf" by all. However, Tengu of Ashina who turns out to be Isshin Ashina dubs him Sekiro. Ironically, this name still means "wolf" - "One-Armed Wolf" in this case.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: He pretty much singlehandedly crippled Ashina's forces as he killed General GYOUBU MASATAKA ONIWA! and several other elite troops with his rampage to save Kuro. By the time the Interior Ministry attacked, only the regular mooks are left to deal with them. To be fair, none of this would have happened if Genichiro didn't kidnap Kuro.
  • No Social Skills: Growing up as a shinobi has left Wolf with basically no social graces. This is best shown when sharing sake with people - he basically just stands there watching them drink without partaking himself. Emma coyly pokes fun at this when she tells him about a shinobi who spoke so little that he was difficult to treat; Wolf completely misses her meaning and thinks she's talking about someone else.
  • Off with His Head!: In one of the endings, Wolf does this to himself as part of his Heroic Sacrifice to end the Dragon's Heritage without sacrificing his lord's life.
  • One-Man Army: While he can't take too many foes at once without running into trouble, Wolf still ends up carving through what's left of Ashina's military and likely kills most of their high ranking commanders. In fact, many fans have argued that Genichiro's single biggest strategic mistake was just pissing him off. Taken Up to Eleven in the Shura ending, where he becomes a demon that slaughters thousands of people.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Characters and even text description only refer to his as "The Wolf", much like how his mentor is called "The Owl."
  • Papa Wolf: His Undying Loyalty to Kuro can be interpreted this way.
  • Parrot Exposition: The man repeats important phrases almost as much as Solid Snake.
    "The Mortal Blade?"
    "Cooked... rice?"
  • Perma-Stubble: He's a scruffy-looking dude. After the Immortal Severance ending, where he becomes a wood-crafting hermit like the Sculptor before him, his lack of grooming becomes even more pronounced.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Sculptor and Emma comments that his brows are always furrowed and the only time we see him smile is when he is turning into Shura. Funnily enough, the description to the sen pouches implies he grins when his pockets are full.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Downplayed. While Wolf is smaller than average, he looks even shorter that he actually is because a significant portion of both his allies and enemies are unusually tall.
  • Playing with Fire: The Flame Vent prosthetic sets enemies ablaze, with a later upgrade skill temporarily buffing his sword.
  • Protectorate: Is sworn to defend Kuro with his life. Which he does. Many times.
  • Psychotic Smirk: The corners of Wolf's mouth lifts ever so slightly right after he kills Emma, persisting even as Isshin Ashina prepares to cut him down. The first time in the entire game that Wolf smiles, and it is when he has already become a Shura.
  • The Quiet One: He's not very talkative. Emma lampshades this by telling him of a shinobi she treated who spoke so little it was hard to actually help him; while the meaning flies completely over Wolf's head, it's clear she's talking about him.
  • Rapid Aging: Zigzagged. Wolf is described as an "elder ninja", and his face shows very visible signs of age, appearing like he's a bit past his prime. However, he appeared to have be in his teens when the Owl found him during Isshin's coup twenty years before the start of the game, meaning he is likely in his mid to late thirties, early forties at most; the grey and white portions on his face and hair are actually a side effect of the Dragon's Heritage rather than age. Whether or not the Dragon's Heritage actually invokes this trope or is purely cosmetic is never stated. He is still a master shinobi, with all that entails.
  • Razor Wind: Learning the Dragon Flash Combat Art after defeating Sword Saint Isshin allows Wolf to create slashing shockwaves from afar, giving him incredible range.
  • The Red Baron: The player character is known as Wolf, and after losing his arm, The One-Armed Wolf (which is the near-literal translation of "Sekiro").
  • Recruited from the Gutter: Wolf was apparently a war orphan who was taken, raised and taught the shinobi arts by Owl. Wolf considers Owl his master and father and expresses some reluctance at fighting him should he choose to.
  • Recurring Element: Another gratuitous Guts clone in a modern FromSoftware game? Only this time, we play as him.
  • Red Is Heroic: He wears a reddish orange haori and is the hero of the story.
  • Resurrective Immortality: Thanks to the power of the Dragon's Heritage, he can always bounce back from fatal blows to fight once more.
  • Samurai Shinobi: The Wolf is openly called a shinobi, utilizing stealth techniques when facing hordes of enemies and many of the game's antagonists being Samurai lords, a lot of his characteristics makes him more like a samurai. While stealth-based combat is an option, the game encourages more aggressive styles of gameplay that real life shinobi tended to avoid. His mode of dress (bright orange and yellow) clashes with the environment which is counter-intuitive to traditional shinobi attire and his philosophy in life is based around protecting and serving a master (though this is more due to the machinations of his adopted father Owl).
  • Scarf of Asskicking: Wolf wears a yellow scarf, befitting his shinobi nature.
  • Scars Are Forever: The sword slice that Owl gave him when he was a child is slightly noticeable on his face.
  • Simple, yet Awesome:
    • His swordplay in comparison to many of his opponents, excluding his sword arts. Almost every boss and mini-boss has long, intricate combos, while Wolf is left with a three-swipe combo, a thrust, and deflection. This is more than enough to kill everything in the game.
    • The Ichimonji sword art is also this. No flashy Sword Lines or glowing energy, no absurd flamboyant combos, just a slow, powerful overhead hit... that does significant damage, interrupts most enemy attacks, and restores Posture on-hit! This applies to the Double Ichimonji, the upgraded version of this technique - which is simply the normal technique done twice in a row.
    • Mikiri Counter. One of the first moves Wolf can learn, it requires him to dodge into thrust attacks, and basically consists of him stomping onto an enemy's weapon. It practically carries the game on its shoulders because it turns an otherwise dangerous Perilous Attack into an easy opportunity for free Posture and Vitality damage.
    • The Mid-Air Combat Arts and Mid-Air Prosthetic Tool skills. They just let you use their respective subject matter while jumping, but trying it out in battle reveals that performing them cuts down on long windup animations that otherwise could have been interrupted. For example, using the Flame Vent in mid-air is an almost instantaneous pop compared to Wolf's rearing animation on the ground.
    • The utility of the Vault Over skill will not immediately be apparent to players upon first glance. It requires a Posture break, and adds an unnecessary step for killing the enemy compared to just using the Deathblow. Then Wolf begins to add Ninjutsu techniques to his repertoire, and suddenly Vault Over opens the way for using these powerful, borderline game-breaking abilities in the middle of combat.
  • Situational Sword: He only makes use of the Mortal Blade when finishing off apparition-type enemies or in a certain few special attacks, preferring to rely on Kusabimaru for the majority of battles.
  • Spell Blade: Wolf has a number of methods he can use to boost Kusabimaru on top of making it look really stylish:
    • Divine Confetti - A single-use item that envelops Kusabimaru in holy fire, increasing its effectiveness against all enemies and especially apparitions.
    • The Bestowal Ninjutsu - After performing a Backstab Deathblow, Wolf temporarily imbues the Kusabimaru with the victim's blood, giving it range that would make Lady Maria proud, in addition to various secondary effects depending on enemy type.
    • Living Force - A Shinobi Prosthetic technique performed by attacking immediately after using either the Flame Vent or the Divine Abduction, concentrating their special effects into Wolf's sword slashes.
  • Shock and Awe: Once the scroll demonstrating the Lightning Reversal technique is found, Wolf can temporarily absorb discharges of electricity (natural or from an enemy's attack) in midair and throw it out as a Sword Beam.
  • Stealth Expert: One of the first things the tutorial teaches you is how to sneak around undetected. Wolf can even perform sneak attacks on some bosses. He becomes even more of an expert after unlocking the Suppress Presence and Suppress Sound skills, which reduce his visibility and noise even further.
  • Stock Ninja Weaponry: He checks off many of the items listed on the main article, including katana, shuriken, kunai (as an upgrade for the shuriken), a short sword (although unlike the types listed on the main article, Sabimaru is a kodachi), a Poisoned Weapon (the aforementioned short sword), and a spear. All of the above except the katana are also Hidden Weapons partially concealed inside his prosthetic arm until activated. He can also technically use "smoke bombs" through his Bloodsmoke Ninjutsu.
  • Surpassed the Teacher: Can end up defeating both Lady Butterfly and Owl, his two shinobi mentors, as well as Isshin Ashina, who teaches him numerous sword techniques during the game.
  • Sword and Fist: Primarily uses a sword, but some of Wolf's Deathblows involve grappling, he can perform a Goomba Stomp to interrupt enemy attacks, and the Senpou Combat Arts involve elbow strikes, shoulder charges, and flying kicks (the last of which combos kicks into sword slashes).
  • Sword Lines: Many of Wolf's high-tier combat arts will give off this effect. Mortal Draw and Empowered Mortal Draw take this Up to Eleven by literally staining the air with inky strokes of immortality-ending energy.
  • Sweet Tooth: When giving rice to Kuro, he accidentally hints he might like sweet things. Kuro seems to find this cute and even offers to cook Wolf sticky riceballs. Those, and a good number of consumables he can eat to gain a buff, tend to be dessert items.
  • Supernatural Martial Arts: A plethora of combat arts the Wolf learns are fantastic in nature, though he'll need Spirit Emblems to use them at their full potential. They can still be performed otherwise, but have less power and look comparatively mundane.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Not only is Wolf practically a dolphin on the water, obtaining the Mibu Breathing Technique allows him to stay submerged at whatever depth level he chooses, and however long as he pleases.
  • Tragic Keepsake: He still wears the same scarf that he wore when he was recently orphaned and found in a battlefield by Owl. Though the game never elaborates on this, the way he clings onto it certainly indicates something.
  • Take Up My Sword: In the Immortal Severance ending after the Divine Heir's death, Wolf has taken up the same occupation as the Sculptor, though Emma returns the prosthetic arm to him, mentioning that another will seek strength just as he once did, and like the Sculptor, it will be his duty to guide them.
  • Trauma-Induced Amnesia: He was supposed to be slain in the aftermath of the Hirata Estate's incident, and only Kuro's power brought him back to life. This caused him to initially had no memories of what happened three years ago, when the incident happened, and even pointed to some wrong recollections of the truth, as shown when he received Owl's bell later on when he killed the man.
  • Undying Loyalty: He is completely devoted to the well-being of his young master, enough that he's willing to cut a bloody swathe through an entire enemy army to rescue him. It is up to the player to decide if Wolf's sense of loyalty remains solely out of obligation, or becomes a choice of his own volition.
  • The Un-Smile: Implied in the item description of the Bulging Coin Purse
A purse almost overflowing with sen. It can be used to acquire the sen inside. Hefty enough to bring something resembling a grin to a Wolf's face.
  • Villain Protagonist: Steps into this role if he chooses to forsake Kuro. By the time he kills Emma soon afterwards his transformation into a Shura is all but complete, and he goes on to become a mass murderer.
  • Walking Armory: Thanks to the Shinobi Prosthetic granted by the Sculptor, Wolf can equip a vast variety of weapons and utilities that will be of great help in his journey across Ashina. There are ten prosthetic tools he can attach to his arm, which is not even going into the available sidegrades or the weapons he already has at his disposal:
    • The Kusabimaru, a family heirloom granted to Wolf in service to Kuro. It's his go-to option for basic offense and defense, and what all the combat of the game centers around.
    • The Mortal Blade, its true epithet being the "Gracious Gift of Tears". A cursed katana glowing with crimson energy, it is the only weapon that can kill immortal beings, including the Infested and those possessing the Dragon Heritage. Wolf can also use it in combat to create wide Sword Beams that pierce through defenses.
    • The Loaded Shuriken. While not very damaging, it is useful for sniping enemies from afar, dealing chip damage to Vitality and Posture, interrupting combos, and applying pressure in a prolonged fight. It can be upgraded to let you hit multiple times after charging, toss sen coins for additional Posture damage at the cost of range and Sekiro's wallet, or send out glowing butterflies that will always damage targets.
    • The Flame Vent. A small cannon that produces a gout of flame with every use, setting its targets alight. Animals and red-eyed enemies are easily paralyzed at the sight of fire, opening up an opportunity to go on the offensive. When paired with the skill Living Force, Kusabimaru can be set on fire to deal bonus damage. Subsequent upgrades allow Wolf to charge it up for a blast so powerful it flings him backward, and even hold down the trigger for continuous output like a proper flamethrower; the final upgrade variation instead produces divine flames that do not burn, but harm apparitions.
    • The Loaded Axe. A hefty weapon meant to simply smash things apart in an overhead strike, it deals generous amounts of Vitality and Posture damage with every blow. It has a slow wind-up time, but that is offset by high poise that tanks through most attacks. Upgrading it gives an additional swing as a charge attack, and even create explosions at the point of impact. The final variant instead casts shockwaves that wipes away illusions.
    • The Shinobi Firecracker. Wolf tosses out lit fuses like confetti, creating a din of sound and bursts of light that stun anything within its area of effect, leaving them exposed for a counterattack. Animals in particular are incredibly sensitive to this tool. Upgraded versions can be charged to spread in a circle around him; more significantly, they let the Wolf choose different timings for explosions to best suit the situation.
    • The Loaded Spear. It looks like a small Blade Below the Shoulder, but when drawn, it offers the largest melee range available in a fight where spacing is key. Great for attacking from a distance, but can also drag enemies and poorly-equipped armor pieces towards Wolf during a follow-up attack. Upgrade variations fall into two categories - the thrust-type provides a charging attack where Wolf runs his foes through with armor-piercing precision; the cleave-type instead is swung in a wide circle when charged, and can even be set ablaze for bonus fire damage.
    • The Mist Raven. Wolf assumes a stance when this tool is used. If any form of damage comes his way, he vanishes into a puff of shadows and feathers and moves in whatever direction he pleases, including behind his foes back. It does not work against grab attacks, however. The upgraded versions allow him to also use this technique as a recovery after taking a hit, and even leave a blazing trail in his wake.
    • The Loaded Umbrella. A large metal fan that collapses into an extremely durable shield. Boasting guaranteed defense against even Perilous Attacks as long as they aren't ground sweeps, the shield can also absorb a certain amount of damage and release it as a powerful projectile when paired with the Projected Force skill. Upgraded versions of the umbrella can be rotated in place to make use of their generous parry windows. In addition, the alternate forms prevent buildup for certain status effects. With the Fang and Blade skill, Wolf retracts the umbrella and swipes at his foe with Kusabimaru and the razor-edged fan into a cross-cut.
    • The Sabimaru. A tanto with a distinctive blue rust on its blade, making it very poisonous. The prosthetic tool can be chained into long attack combos in conjunction with Wolf's own sword, keeping his target on the defensive while stacking poison buildup. The Okami clan and their human descendants have historically been deathly allergic to this blade (going as far as to stop whatever they're doing to violently puke once affected), making it an excellent choice against them. Upgrades further improve upon Sabimaru's ability to pierce enemy defenses, while the final variation emits noxious mist that lingers in the air.
    • The Divine Abduction. A fan made of leaves, and thus is not suited for direct combat. Instead, the Wolf uses it to gather wind for a short duration, with a second usage releasing it in an area around him. All enemies caught in the vortex are spun around and disoriented. In many cases, this exposes them for an easy Backstab Deathblow. Interestingly, monks from the Senpou Temple straight up disappear with the gusts, as if they were spirited away. Upgrades improve the fan's function by increasing the number of possible casts to two, with the final variation allowing one to shake enemies down for additional sen and item drops. When paired with the Living Force skill, Wolf's sword is imbued with golden wind that provides the same effects.
    • The Finger Whistle. A skeletal finger with two holes bored through it. Blowing into the finger creates a loud sound that draws the attention of all within Wolf's vicinity. Animals that hear its tune are instead driven into a frenzy and proceed to attack everything in sight. This tool also has some bizarre acoustic properties; focusing onto a single target will cause the tune to only be audible to that one target, drawing them away from the rest of a group. Upgraded versions can even be charged to delay the noise for a few seconds, allowing a shinobi to reposition as one needs. The final variation, which requires a ring to tune the whistle, can torment apparitions by bringing forth memories of a past life.
  • Walking Wasteland: A small-scale and unusual variant. The Dragonrot will slowly kill anyone who comes in contact with Wolf, as his Resurrection power draws from their life force to support his own. This means that any who comes into contact with him risks death just by knowing he exists.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Contrary to the usual Guts clone, Wolf doesn't have much in the way of close-range battle, instead having to rely on stealth, wits, and many of the tools in his prosthetic arm to cut down numerous, much larger enemies.
  • The Worf Effect: Played With. Most first-time players will get curb-stomped by Genichiro when dueling him in the prologue, which results in the cutscene of Wolf getting his arm lopped off. However, it's quite possible for experienced or skilled players to defeat Genichiro here, though the only resulting difference is that Genichiro ends up having to rely on outside aid to defeat Wolf.
  • Would Hit a Girl: He can certainly kill old decrepit women without remorse. Even if he spares them, Wolf will be forced to slay many females throughout the game due to a large number of the supernatural enemies being female, such as the Okami warriors, the Corrupted Monk, and Snake Eyes. And he certainly didn't hold back with his boss fight against Emma.
  • Younger Than They Look: He's actually not that old, mid or late-30's-to-early-40's at the absolute most. But the patches of silver in his hair, caused by partaking of Kuro's magic blood, can make it easy to mistake him for a much older person.

    Kuro, The Divine Heir 

Kuro, The Divine Heir
"Loyal Wolf: take my blood and live again."

"Even if you fall, uphold the oath to bring your master home. For you are my shinobi."
Voiced by: Miyuki Satou (Japanese), Amber Hood (English)

The Wolf's young master, the "Divine Heir", who was kidnapped by the Ashina clan to make use of his special bloodline.

  • Apple of Discord: It seems that ever since Kuro was known to possess the ability to grant immortality to others through an Immortal Oath, almost everyone in Ashina, even former Fire-Forged Friends, began tearing each other apart so they can get their hands on the boy.
  • But Now I Must Go: In the Purification Ending, Kuro visits Sekiro's grave to give his farewells to both the deceased shinobi and Emma. With a newfound lease on the life Sekiro sacrificed his own for, he leaves Ashina to go on a jouney.
  • Children Are Innocent: Kuro is a pillar of righteousness compared to the other characters. When he sees one Hirata man laying dead having contributed to his protection, he apologizes to his retainer as he was killed because of him being a target.
  • Disappeared Dad: And mom. Kuro mentions his parents once before the fight with Lady Butterfly, but they are never seen and it is implied that they were killed during the raid. Currently the closest things he has to parental figures are Wolf and Emma.
  • Distressed Dude: The Divine Heir is kept captive by the Ashina clan against his will, and it is up to Sekiro to free him.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: He's a child of noble heritage so he can't claim Barefoot Poverty. However his whole time in the game is spent barefooted. It's possible that, as he cannot bleed - at least, not easily - Kuro likely never felt the need to protect his feet.
  • Heroic BSoD: His reaction to seeing Sekiro become a demonic Shura.
    Kuro: ...No, you're... You can't be Shura...!
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Realizing that the Dragon's heritage is causing senseless carnage because of the many people who want it, Kuro decides early to seek for a way to sever his immortality, eventually telling Sekiro to kill him with the Mortal Blade in the Immortality Severance route.
  • Hidden Depths: Who would've thought that Kuro could make such delicious sweet rice balls? Sekiro probably didn't, and even the Divine Child is completely baffled by the idea of somebody of Kuro's status actually cooking for himself. Kuro will later comment that if he ever has time to do so, he'll open up a tea house.
  • Hime Cut: A Rare Male Example. His hairstyle is, altough typically feminine in Japanese culture, befitting of his noble heritage.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Aggressively averted. Kuro may be young, but he knows when someone is trying to use him for his powers as is evident with Owl.
  • Immortality Inducer: By binding someone with a contract, Kuro gives them Resurrective Immortality.
  • Living Macguffin: His immortal blood makes him the target of a number of conflicting plots throughout the game.
  • Mercy Kill: In the Immortality Severance ending, in order to prevent the Dragon's Heritage from falling into the wrong hands — and under the personal belief that no one should have its power — Kuro asks Sekiro to kill him after he's suffered a mortal wound from Genichiro only moments prior.
  • Morality Pet: Sekiro kills a lot of people for his sake. As it turns out, their bond is the only thing stopping him from succumbing to his bloodlust and becoming a Shura.
  • Nice Guy: He's a kindhearted, innocent youth with no bad bone in his body.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Of a variant. The Divine Heir is incapable of bleeding because his wounds close up instantly. In order to find a way to sever the Dragon's Heritage, Kuro has Sekiro search for a way to wound him, as his blood is necessary to find the means to prevent the Dragon's Heritage from falling into the wrong hands.
  • Only One Name: If Kuro has a surname (much like many who belonged to Japanese nobility at the time), it isn't ever addressed. However, there's a possibility that it's Hirata, since he was living in Hirata estate prior to the game's events.
  • Protectorate: Sekiro was sworn to protect him, as his kidnapping is the main catalyst of the game's conflict.
  • Sleepy Head: The Wolf can catch him napping at certain times, and can choose to either wake him up or let him sleep. Choosing the latter will result in a good 20-30 seconds of unskippable sleeping before he wakes up on his own, followed by him complaining that Wolf should have just woken him up.
  • Superpowerful Genetics: Kuro comes from a bloodline that can bestow the power of resurrection on a person. Likewise, the Divine Heir cannot bleed.
  • Touched by Vorlons: His bloodline's ability to grant Resurrective Immortality was itself granted by the Divine Dragon, whom Sekiro later fights as the boss of the Fountainhead Palace.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Turns out a whole lot of people really want to live forever, and don't care what they have to do in order to achieve that goal. Therefore, Kuro decides to take himself out of the picture not because he personally wants to die, but just so that everybody can stop goddamn fighting over him for two seconds.
  • Wise Beyond His Years: Despite his age, Kuro has the maturity of someone much older than him.

    Lord Genichiro Ashina 

Genichiro Ashina
Click here for Genichiro - Way of Tomoe 
"So the noble shinobi stands in our way ..."
"Ashina, this land — is everything to me. For her sake... I will shed humanity itself."
Voiced by: Kenjiro Tsuda (Japanese), Ray Chase (English)

A battle-hardened Samurai, Genichiro Ashina is the highest-ranking commander of the Ashina clan's army. Out of desperation, Genichiro kidnaps Wolf's master, and leaves him for dead after defeating him in a duel.

  • Ambiguous Situation: Averted. Since he's The Unfought in the Shura Ending, Genichiro's fate is never directly addressed in-game. However, use of freecam shows that Owl is holding Genichiro's severed head in the final cutscene; given that said cutscene shows Owl also carrying the Black Mortal Blade (which seemingly only Genichiro knew where to find in the first place), it can be assumed that Genichiro had fallen at the hands of the Great Shinobi while Wolf was fighting both Emma and Isshin.
  • Anti-Villain: He isn't evil; just simply very desperate, and willing to go to extreme measures to protect Ashina from the Interior Ministry.
    Genichiro: "Ashina, this land — is everything to me. For her sake... I will shed humanity itself."
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Supreme commander of the armies of Ashina and one of their strongest warriors, second only to Lord Isshin himself.
  • Back from the Dead: When the Wolf kills him in their second encounter, he revives himself through the Rejuvenating Waters. This, unfortunately, also leads to him sacrificing his humanity, and Isshin has mentioned that he can only resurrect so many times. In all routes barring the Shura Ending, he invokes the Trope by using the second Mortal Blade, stained with the blood of the Divine Heir and with Genichiro's own life to as a sacrifice, to resurrect Isshin Ashina, who had died not too long ago from his illness, back in his prime to defend the Ashina one final time.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Initially seems to be the Final Boss in the non-Shura endings, until he uses the Black Mortal Blade to summon Sword Saint Isshin from his own corpse.
  • Barbarian Longhair: When he tosses away his helmet, it is shown he's got unkempt long hair beneath it.
  • The Battle Didn't Count: If you manage to beat his Hopeless Boss Fight in the tutorial, a cutscene will play where somebody offscreen (presumably the Nightjar who carries Kuro away) distracts Wolf before he can actually deal the killing blow by throwing a shuriken at him. Genichiro seizes the opportunity to attack and cuts off Wolf's arm just as he would have if you had lost the fight, while throwing in an extra Bond One-Liner about "the difference between honor and victory".
  • Big Bad: He is the primary antagonist of the game.
  • Blade Spam: His Floating Passage technique is a relentless series of slashes that will leave both Sekiro's and Genichiro's posture gauges sky-high even with perfect deflections.
  • Book-Ends: The game begins with Genichiro standing in Sekiro's way on a moonlit field of flowing silvergrass. If the shinobi chooses to say true to the path of ending the Dragon's Heritage, then Genichiro will confront him one last time on the very same spot. Except in this case, he won't let himself be the Final Boss.
  • Bonus Boss: Inner Genichiro is a souped-up version of the one encountered in the story, who comes with several new moves such as the ability to use Chasing Slice after firing his bow, and the new Combat Art Sakura Dance, a signature move of his master Tomoe that not only does chip damage if not deflected with perfect timing, but functions as Genichiro's own Lightning Reversal to counter your first one. Completing the Divine Heir Gauntlet will unlock the Sakura Dance for Wolf's own use.
  • Bow and Sword, in Accord: Whilst Genichiro fights mainly with a classic katana, he also has a longbow strapped to his back (a case of Truth in Television, as Samurai were trained to fight with multiple weapons to avoid Crippling Overspecialisation). He is shown to be extremely adept with both weapons, perfectly transitioning from one to the other during his attacks. In fact, when a group of ashigaru are discussing Ashina's finest warriors, Genichiro is specifically mentioned for his skill with the bow.
  • Broken Pedestal: Downplayed. Though Kuro completely opposes Genichiro's desire for immortality and the Dragon's Blood, he still seems to retain a great deal of respect for Genichiro personally, even if not as much as before.
  • Childhood Friends: He and Emma are well-acquainted with each other since childhood, him being the adoptive grandson of Isshin Ashina, and Emma being the adoptive daughter of Isshin's physician.
  • The Coats Are Off: He strips to the waist for the second phase of his fight, discarding all his armor for more speed, revealing a scarred and electricity-burned torso.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Throughout the game, it's made evident that he does not care at all for the concept of a "fair fight". For example, when fought atop Ashina Castle, he'll switch to his bow whenever he thinks Wolf has left himself open to a cheap shot, generally when the latter is pressing too aggressively or is trying to heal. He straight-up admits to this if forced to rely on outside aid to defeat Wolf in the tutorial fight:
    Genichiro: "A shinobi would know the difference between honor and victory."
  • Commanding Coolness: A villainous example - he's also referred to as "The Commander".
  • Cool Helmet: Wears a magnificent kabuto, as befits his station.
  • Covered with Scars: Parts of his body is blackened by electric burns, in addition to the multiple cuts and stab wounds accrued over years of combat and the times he fought against Sekiro.
  • Defiant to the End: The man utterly refuses to die; even in the middle of Sekiro's Deathblow against him, he blocks the final slash with his own sword, pushes Sekiro back, and only narrowly misses killing him with a thrust of his own. Even then, he comes back.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: The second battle with him is thematically appropriate and warrants enough merit as the climatic showdown between a lord who instigated and a shinobi who was wronged... but then the game reveals that this particular affair only covers a third of the actual plot.
  • Evil Virtues: Genichiro's entire motivation is founded in altruism, refusing to let the Ashina be destroyed by the Interior Ministry and in the Final Boss encounter, shows humility when he admits that he's no match for Wolf and sacrifices himself to bring back somebody who is - Isshin in his prime.
  • Fights Like a Normal: Despite having Lighting Powers as Genichiro - Way of Tomoe, he doesn't actually use such powers initially and gets through just fine using his skill with both a sword and a large bow.
  • Final Boss Preview: A unique example given the circumstances where Sekiro faces him. His first encounter serves a preview for the rematch, as what he brings to the table applies the same way. His subsequent fight while exhibiting the Way of Tomoe in turn serves as a preview for the final clash in all the non-Shura routes. However, he is really playing the role of gatekeeper for the one Sekiro actually needs to defeat.
  • Foil: To Sekiro. Both are highly trained warriors who had been adopted and raised after the Ashina coup twenty years ago, and thus are unflinchingly loyal to their masters. The two even go as far as to eventually wield their own Mortal Blade by the end of the game. However, Genichiro seeks immortality no matter how cursed it will leave him. Sekiro had it entrusted to him, and even then he's shown remorse for its consequences. Genichiro goes against his own grandfather's wishes out of dogged loyalty to his country; Sekiro disobeys his father figure's mandates out of morality. In the end, Genichiro was a man who could never move on from his duties and dream of being more than just the successor to the Ashina clan. Sekiro (in all the non-Shura routes) gets to make his decisions on his own terms, and finds meaning in his life beyond being a simple attack dog.
  • Glass Cannon: As Genichiro - Way of Tomoe. He is less durable without his samurai armor, needing only one Deathblow to defeat in both instances where you fight him. Victory can occur in just a few seconds. However, Sekiro's own posture accumulates rapidly under Genichiro's increased aggression, and the general has new moves that will demolish fully-upgraded healthbars in individual swings.
  • Godzilla Threshold: His final act in the game is to cut his own throat with the Black Mortal Blade to summon the deceased Isshin back from the underworld in his prime, in the hope that the old warlord, armed with both Mortal Blades and granted immortality by the Divine Heir, will be able to turn the tide of the war by himself. Isshin himself expresses doubt about his grandson's last wish, but is honorbound to follow it anyway, leading to his final duel with Sekiro.
  • Grapple Move: Has an unblockable grab where he'll stun Wolf with a jab to the face and then slug him right in the stomach. Once he goes "Way of Tomoe" mode, he gets another grab where he'll instead slam Wolf into the ground before stabbing him.
  • Great Bow: He wields a positively massive bow (particularly in terms of its thickness), yet he can fire it rapidly with ease.
  • Happily Adopted: The best way to explain this man's single-minded goal and determination; he will stop at nothing to preserve the strength of the family who took him in as an impoverished young boy.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Downplayed. He confronts Wolf at the end of the tutorial level, at which point players only have access to a katana, a handful of items and no Shinobi Prosthetic or its tools. Wolf is defeated in short order and has his arm cut off so that the young lord can be kidnapped and Sekiro can acquire his Shinobi Prosthetic. That being said, it is possible to beat him (and quite easy to do so in New Game+ since all of your upgrades and Gourd charges carry over). Doing so results in a cutscene where Wolf is about to finish him off, only to be distracted by a Nightjar throwing a shuriken from offscreen, giving Genichiro an opening to cut off Wolf's arm anyway. He then taunts Wolf for not knowing "the difference between honor and victory".
  • Immortality Seeker: He asks Kuro to make him a contract for immortality. Kuro can't as he already did one with his shinobi.
  • Inadequate Inheritor: In all non-Shura routes, Genichiro will reveal that this is how he feels about himself after losing to Sekiro once again. He believes that, unlike his grandfather Isshin, he doesn't have what it takes to save Ashina from the fires of war. So he turns the black Mortal Blade on himself, sacrifices his life, and resurrects the old man in his prime to fight for Ashina one last time.
  • Killed Offscreen: In the Shura ending, Owl kills him and takes his head while Sekiro fights Emma and Isshin.
  • Large and in Charge: Wolf doesn't come up to his shoulder.
  • Lightning/Fire Juxtaposition: As Genichiro - Way of Tomoe, he has Lightning abilities to contrast Sekiro's use of fire weaponry.
  • More Dakka: One of his attacks has him leaping into the air and rapidly firing four arrows before landing.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: He's fiercely loyal to his country and is willing to go to any lengths to protect it, as he resolutely states to Wolf.
    Genichiro: "Ashina, this land — is everything to me. For her sake... I will shed humanity itself."
  • My Name Is Inigo Montoya: His first boss fight begins with him saying "You face Genichiro Ashina!"
  • Not So Different: It's never brought up by anyone, but he and Sekiro actually have a few things in common: The two were made orphans during the coup twenty years ago, and then taken under the wing of Ashina's mightiest warriors in the aftermath. They grow up to become dirty fighters who mainly use mundane tricks while saving the big stuff for desperate measures, and both end up cursed with a form of immortality.
    • Both are also driven by single minded goals, and will go to any length to accomplish those goals. Everything Genichiro does, including kidnapping a boy, turning men into abominations. and using himself as a sacrifice, is for the purpose of saving his homeland. For his part, Wolf cuts through countless soldiers and monsters to save his liege and ward.
  • Playing Tennis with the Boss: Go ahead, just try and use Lightning Reversal against Inner Genichiro. He'll use it right back.
  • Recruited from the Gutter: His remnant indicates that he was originally born into peasantry before being adopted by the Ashina.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: His armor and cloak are primarily black and red, befitting his status as the main antagonist. Downplayed on the "Evil" part, however, being an anti-villain.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Genichiro's eyes glow a devilish red when he proclaims that he'd shed his humanity to protect his clan.
  • Sequential Boss: After first defeating Genichiro in his second match, he will strip off his armor and reveal himself as a practitioner of the Way of Tomoe, with a more aggressive and devastating moveset to boot. Losing against him then will send the player back to the starting line where they must fight his armored form all over again. Likewise, Sekiro must defeat him first before even attempting to have a go at the Sword Saint.
  • Shed Armor, Gain Speed: Genichiro will remove the top part of his samurai armor after Sekiro first bests him in combat. While he takes damage much more easily and requires only one Deathblow to defeat, he becomes a faster and more agile target that can still hit like a truck.
  • Shock and Awe: In the second battle with him, he reveals a special technique called the "Lightning of Tomoe", Tomoe being his mentor in swordsmanship. The Lightning of Tomoe consists in using lightning from an on-going thunderstorm to imbue his sword and arrow attacks with electricity, extending the reach of the blade with a literal blade of electricity or boosting the damage inflicted by arrows; either way they will cause the Shock status Effect, wounding Sekiro further and paralyzing him for a moment. Thankfully, the lightning can be used against him.
  • Snow Means Death: Played with in that he doesn't die on the spot despite taking what would be a lethal hit for anyone else, but his retreat from the castle causes snow to fall across the Ashina stronghold.
  • Truth in Television: Funny enough, there was a historical figure by the name of Genichiro Ashina who was not only the last leader of the Ashina clan, but also the grandson of an Isshin Ashina. However, both he and Isshin died in the 1800s, which was a full three hundred years after when the story takes place.
  • Undying Loyalty: His loyalty to the Ashina clan is unparalleled.
  • The Unfettered: Genichiro is singlehandedly committed to saving Ashina, admittedly ready to commit heresy, shed his humanity and perform other atrocious deeds to acquire to power to save his clan. In the end, he even sacrifices his own life in order to summon his grandfather back from the underworld in his prime.
  • The Unfought: Downplayed; Genichiro's fought twice by default - first in the tutorial and again at Ashina Castle. His third boss fight is absent in the Shura Ending, leaving his fate ambiguous, though the use of freecam reveals that he was killed by Owl.
  • Villain Forgot to Level Grind: Literally! Genichiro goes from a (ostensibly) Hopeless Boss Fight at the beginning of the game, to a Wake-Up Call Boss beaten after a tough fight in the mid game, to a mere warm-up for Isshin that you're intended to beat like a drum repeatedly on the way to the real battle, both because Sekiro levels up his stats and because the player is, presumably, becoming better at the game. He's actually identical in terms of stats and behavior in his last fight to the second phase of his second fight (except he swaps lightning strikes for the Mortal Blade), though in his third fight he only requires one death blow to defeat, not three.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: The second battle with him marks the spot where the player MUST get good at deflection and the Perilous Attack counters. Every boss before him has some sort of trick that can be used; Gyoubu is extra weak to the Firecracker, Lady Butterfly can be cheesed by spamming certain moves such as Nightjar Slash or sidestepping attacks, and the Illusionary Corrupted Monk can be stunned by Snap Seeds and burned with Divine Confetti. Genichiro has no such gimmicks – you either parry his attacks, or you die; even if your dodging skills can get you through his first two death blows, he's too aggressive in too small of a room as Genichiro, Way of Tomoe for you to not break his posture bar as quickly as possible instead of whittling down his health. He still applies as this for the final boss of the base game, but in a different manner – if you can't take him down without using up most of your healing items, then you probably don't have a snowball's chance in hell of defeating his grandfather.
  • Warrior Prince: He's the last heir to the Ashina Clan bloodline, and one of their finest warriors.
  • Was Once a Man: After being mortally wounded by Sekiro, he rapidly recovers thanks to the Rejuvenating Waters. However, it's implied the Waters are slowly ridding him of his humanity.
  • We Can Rule Together: After being bested in the first phase of his battle in their second encounter, Genichiro asks Wolf if he would consider serving the Ashina. Wolf's response?
    Sekiro: "Heresy."
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: He wants to protect his clan and their lands from the armies of the Interior Ministry. Facing superior numbers, Genichiro is desperate enough to resort to a number of unethical means (including using poor animals as weapons, employing an assortment of abominations, and even supporting Doujun's amoral research) to defend his land.
  • The Worf Effect: Depending on the path taken and player skill, Wolf can humiliate him three times over the course of the game. In addition to the guaranteed encounter atop Ashina Castle, Wolf can defeat him in the tutorial fight, forcing him to rely on a Nightjar's diversion to win the fight regardless. The third time takes place in the Silvergrass field, where after dealing one death blow to Genichiro, he admits to his powerlessness before sacrificing his life in order to bring Isshin back to face Wolf in his stead.
    • In the Shura ending, Owl kills him offscreen while Wolf busies himself with Emma and Isshin. It is never revealed how Owl defeated him, but given that the former is not in his prime, it does not reflect well on Genichiro.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Is perfectly willing to kidnap and sacrifice Kuro, a young boy. At the beginning of the final boss fight, it's shown that he has already wounded Kuro with the black Mortal Blade.

"Shinobi... Open your eyes. For the sake of your master..."
Voiced by: Shizuka Ito (Japanese), Stephanie Sheh (English)

A doctor for an unnamed feudal lord, Emma can upgrade Sekiro's Healing Gourd in exchange for Gourd Seeds. If requested, she can be sent to determine the cause behind the Dragonrot affliction. She may not seem like it, but she's quite a skilled swordswoman.

  • Ambiguously Trained: When Sekiro asks about Emma's swordfighting skill, she mentions that she's taken lessons in swordsmanship from Isshin Ashina as a "passing interest". Her boss fight indicates the exact contrary, in that she's trained hard to become strong enough to defeat a Shura.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: Has mastered the Ashina Cross, which deals a large amount of chip damage even when blocking. She especially likes to use it when her target is downed, forcing them to give space instead of continuing the offense.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Emma is a physician by vocation, dedicated to healing and she helps the protagonists with their benevolent quest. But if Sekiro turns his back on Kuro, then Emma unsheathes a katana to defend the boy and slay Sekiro, something she is quite capable of doing.
  • Blade Spam: Averted. Emma is mostly characterized by long windups meant to throw off the timing of deflects followed by quick surgical strikes.
  • Death Glare: Gives one to Sekiro and Owl when she realizes their betrayal.
  • Dual Wielding: Her most complex attack involves pulling out her scabbard mid-combo and using it in conjunction with her sword, finally segueing into an Ashina Cross. This can be used against her, however; deflecting the last hit before the Iaijutsu finish will have the player trap her scabbard and throw her off-balance.
  • Famous Last Words: Likely uttered in horrified anticipation for what Sekiro will become if he kills her:
    Emma: Shu-... ra...
  • Foil: To Sekiro and Genichiro:
    • Like Sekiro, Emma was a war orphan found by a shinobi on the battlefield during the Ashina rebellion. Unlike Owl, however, Orangutan knew that being raised as a shinobi was no way for a child to grow up, and left her in the care of lord Dougen. He still kept in contact, though, resulting in her growing up with a respect and familiarity with Shinobi, but without being raised as a weapon, unlike Sekiro, who was trained as a shinobi since childhood.
    • Like Genichiro, Emma was raised by members of the Ashina court. Unlike him, she manages to keep a healthy distance to the clan, without Genichiro's fanatic loyalty. Thanks to this, she Knows When To Fold Them, and would rather abandon Ashina, knowing that it's lost to the Interior Ministry, unlike Genichiro, who keeps fighting until he's lost himself.
  • Genius Bruiser: Emma is mostly characterized as a doctor who's invented the much useful Healing Gourd that Sekiro uses. And then she also becomes a boss, demonstrating her swordfighting skills.
  • Glass Cannon: She's quite frail, with both low health and a posture bar that's relatively easy to fill with persistent attacks and parries. On the other hand, she's full of dangerous moves (including a delayed grab attack with excellent tracking, and a lunge attack a mile long) that will ruin your day if they so much as graze you.
  • Grapple Move: One of Emma's unblockable attacks is a grab where she will twist Wolf into a high overhead swing before slamming him back into the ground.
  • Iaijutsu Practitioner: As expected of someone who has mastered the Ashina Arts, a number of her deadliest attacks involve her sheathing her blade before quickly drawing it out again.
  • Lady of War: Serene, graceful, and has a hell of a sword arm.
  • Mama Bear: She would rather die fighting than see any harm come to Kuro, even if the threat is the Wolf himself.
  • The Mole: A heroic example. As it turns out, she had been under Isshin Ashina's orders to work behind Genichiro's back and help Kuro escape from the country.
  • Odd Name Out: An interesting example. Her name in the Japanese version is written as "エマ", which would be read as "Ema", an actual Japanese female name. However, it's written in katanana, which is more commonly used for words of foreign origin, which is perhaps why it was translated to "Emma", which is not so much a traditional Japanese name.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: As befitting of a doctor:
    Emma: Let us begin.
  • Recurring Element: She's the closest equivalent to the Fire Keeper, being the female NPC that stays in the hub and upgrades the healing gourd, this game's estus. She also shares her name with another character from Dark Souls III, as well as her hidden allegiance to an important lord...
  • Red Baron: If Sekiro sides with his father, then Emma comes to confront him and her boss battle introduces her title: The Gentle Blade.
  • Sad Battle Music: Her boss theme has a noticeably more sorrowful tone than other fights, befitting the tragic nature of the battle.
  • Sequential Boss: If you pursue the Shura ending, she will be your gatekeeper to the boss fight against Isshin Ashina; you must defeat her while spending as little resources as possible, because if you then proceed to lose against the old man, you must start over from the beginning and face her again.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: A gentle and upstanding doctor, but she will wreck your shit if you side with Owl, setting your path to becoming a Shura.
  • Tranquil Fury: Is quite clearly pissed at Sekiro for his betrayal in the Shura ending, but she never so much as raises her voice throughout the fight.
  • Unreliable Expositor: By meeting certain conditions, Emma will begin investigating on alternate means of Immortal Severance in order to spare the young lord's life. After a long time searching, however, she will finally explain that she's reached a dead end. Actually, Emma is purposefully withholding information; Purification will transfer the Dragon's Heritage from Kuro to Sekiro, meaning the Wolf will have to die in the boy's place. She lies because she's just as reluctant to lose him as she is to lose Kuro.
  • In Vino Veritas: She introduces herself as a doctor, but is mostly on her guard when Sekiro first interacts with her - sharing various alcohols from all over Ashina will have her warmly recall intriguing information about herself and Ashina's upper echelon.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Emma is relatively fragile for an endgame boss with only one health bar to deplete. However, she is skilled enough that filling her posture guard is an uncertain proposition.
  • We Used to Be Friends: She and Genichiro have known each other since they were young, as both were adopted into Ashina's high court after the coup. However, she could not abide by Genichiro's plans to kidnap Kuro and shed his own humanity, hence why she is now placing her hopes on Sekiro to break the Divine Heir out.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: Fits the trope perfectly. She is proper and righteous, and when those she cares about are in danger, she unsheathes her sword to battle her foes.

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